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In Trust magazine – Spring 2016 issue

The Spring 2016 issue of In Trust was recently mailed to subscribers. Here are some of the highlights.


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    Graduation gap remains between black and white students


    New research about the graduation rate disparity between black and white students is highlighted in a March 2016 article in Inside Higher Ed.


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    Seminary president featured in Christian Century cover story


     

    Central Baptist Theological Seminary president Molly T. Marshall was interviewed for the cover story of a recent issue of The Christian Century. The interview, by David Heim, addresses Marshall’s opinions and experiences as president.  


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    Already in debt, incoming seminarians plan to work part time


    In a January 20 webinar for seminary leaders, a researcher for the Association of Theological Schools highlighted sobering data gleaned from surveys of new students at the association's member institutions.


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    One perspective on tenure

     

    In a recent Christian Century blog post, Greg Carey provides a defense of tenure at theological institutions. He begins his post by acknowledging that in times of change and financial unrest, theological schools may be tempted to rely principally on adjunct faculty. After all, tenured faculty cost more --and some may be resistant to institutional changes. But Carey argues against the move toward adjunct faculty.

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    Calvin College offers inmates a second chance

     

    “To have this opportunity is an answer to prayer and an opportunity to fulfill my calling,” says David. He's pursuing a bachelor of arts in ministry leadership degree offered by Calvin College. He's also an inmate at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan. 

    The Calvin Prison Initiative offers 20 inmates in the Michigan correctional system the chance to pursue a B.A. while incarcerated. The initiative, which accepted its first class in August, has been positively received by inmates, prison staff, and Calvin faculty alike.


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    Do bequests make a difference?



    Donors make bequests to make a difference after they're gone. Mary Goodman, a New Haven laundress who bequeathed her life savings (nearly $5,000) to Yale Divinity School to provide scholarships for African Americans, was especially successful in this regard: her bequest supported the school’s first black students, and continues to support students today, nearly 144 years later.

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    Gettysburg and Philadelphia seminaries announce ‘new school of theology’




    The Lutheran seminaries in Gettysburg and Philadelphia have announced that their boards have adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”


     

    Last week, Gettysburg Seminary and the Lutheran Philadelphia Seminary jointly announced that their boards had adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”

    The two schools, both located in Pennsylvania and both seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held simultaneous meetings of their boards to adopt the identical resolution. You can read more about the announcement here and here. We will keep you posted as the schools share more about this process. 


     


     

    Last week, Gettysburg Seminary and the Lutheran Philadelphia Seminary jointly announced that their boards had adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”

    The two schools, both located in Pennsylvania and both seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held simultaneous meetings of their boards to adopt the identical resolution. You can read more about the announcement here and here. We will keep you posted as the schools share more about this process. 


     


     

    Last week, Gettysburg Seminary and the Lutheran Philadelphia Seminary jointly announced that their boards had adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”

    The two schools, both located in Pennsylvania and both seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held simultaneous meetings of their boards to adopt the identical resolution. You can read more about the announcement here and here. We will keep you posted as the schools share more about this process. 


     

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    Student data, shared governance, and seminary finances: Upcoming webinars




    The Association of Theological Schools and the In Trust Center are presenting or co-presenting three webinars in upcoming months that will be of interest to leaders of theological schools. The webinars cover student data, shared governance, and seminary finances and are designed to educate members of the board, faculty, and administration of theological schools on these essential topics.

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    Financial troubles? How sharing resources could be a solution

     

     

     

    Ecumenical Theological Seminary (ETS) recently made an interesting choice regarding its seminary library. In order to deal with financial constraints, ETS negotiated with nearby Wayne State University to share their library. To explain this creative approach to addressing their financial issues, ETS president Stephen Murray said, “My mantra is, we don’t want to make cuts just to make cuts, we want to make cuts in such a way that we position the seminary to grow and to become strong.”


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    Connecting the dots between the board and the library



    At most institutions, the relationship between board members and the library is mediated through the administration. In an informal survey of 35 library directors, In Trust found that most have little direct contact with board members. Twenty-four library directors said that they never have contact with their school’s board members outside their board meetings. And 19 of the 35 said they have never submitted a formal report to their board.

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    Changing demographics at Catholic seminaries

     

    Since the '70s, the number of priests in the United States and Canada has dramatically decreased, while the number of Catholics has grown. The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate reports that in 1965, 549 U.S. parishes did not have a resident priest pastor. By 2010, that number had increased to 3,496. Nevertheless, a recent story from NPR highlights some good news for U.S. Catholics.

     

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    Selling the seminary -- statistics and all


    As seminary leaders engage with donors, many find a reluctance about investing in theological education. North America’s changing religious landscape means that there are fewer people in the pews, at least in many churches. A growing number of seminaries is recruiting potential students, but the absolute number of seminarians has remained essentially flat over the last 20 years. Furthermore, the prohibitive cost of the traditional master of divinity degree can all lead potential donors to question whether their gift might be better given elsewhere.

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    Is a seminary a school or a church?

     

     

    A seasoned faculty member once complained to me after completing a long counseling session with a student. He lamented about how he was spending more and more of his on-campus time: “Sometimes I feel like I’m spending more time counseling my students than teaching them. This was not the case 20 years ago when I began teaching. Something has changed.”

     

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    Our condition: Americans with Disabilities Act, 25 years later



    Twenty-five years ago,  when I was a college freshman, my university unveiled a program to address the needs of disabled students on campus. Since this was the same year that Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), I can only assume that the new law was the impetus behind the effort. 

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    Faculty at accredited theological schools: By the numbers

    Are you curious about how your school’s faculty compares to faculty at other theological schools? Do you know your ration of full- to part-time faculty, or how many have terminal degrees?

    Answers to these questions can be found (along with mountains of other data) in the 2014-2015 Annual Data Tables from the Association of Theological School (ATS). Those of us who don’t have time to wade through this 172-page treasure trove can read a two-part summary that unpacks some of the numbers.


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    The state of the industry, and how to use ATS data for decision making

     

     

     

    In mid-September, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) shared a live webinar entitled 2015 State of the Industry. Daniel Aleshire (executive director of ATS) and Stephen Graham (senior director of programs and services) led a 45-minute presentation on enrollment, faculty, and finances at ATS member schools

    ATS has posted the recording on their website, as well as the slides and text of the webinar and links to further resources.

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    Is there a place for young people in governance?

    Nonprofit Quarterly recently published an article that got me thinking about the benefits and challenges of including young people in governance structures. “Preparing the Board Leaders of Tomorrow by Involving Youth in Governance Today” explains how the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP) have involved the girls they service into the organization's governance. As a youth development and leadership organization, the the Girl Scouts are well positioned for this. It aligns with their mission and quite frankly, makes sense. 

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    Upcoming webinar from ATS: Theological Education 2015: State of the Industry

     

    On Friday, September 18, 2015, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) will present a free webinar entitled Theological Education 2015: State of the Industry. ATS Executive Director Dan Aleshire will “provide a broad overview of what the latest data are telling us about enrollment, financial issues, faculty, and more.”

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    #CharlestonSyllabus: A list of resources

     

    Has your school considered how to engage students and other community members around the issues of race and racism?

    The following are resources to help you do just that.

     

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    Attorney general warns trustees of investigation



    The attorney general’s interest is unusual in that it seems to be a pre-emptive action; the college is not in danger of closing. “I consider it my responsibility to promote and protect the nonprofit sector,” the New York attorney general told the New York Times — not only by prosecuting fraud, but by preventing mismanagement “before it starts.”

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    Summer 2015 issue of In Trust magazine


    Last week the Summer 2015 issue of In Trust magazine landed in the mailboxes of people affiliated with the In Trust Center's member schools. Here are some highlights.

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    A prayer for Emanuel and the nine



    African American presidents and deans in theological education have shared the following statement and prayer in response to last week's mass murder at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. 


    June 2015

    As the African American presidents and deans of graduate theological education, we express our profound solidarity with the families and the faithful of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. There are not words enough to convey the emotions we feel in the aftermath of the bloodbath.

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    In the news: Wisconsin's proposed changes to tenure



    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is proposing changes that would weaken tenure protections in the state’s system of public universities. And faculty members are naturally outraged.

    The faculty of the University of Wisconsin enjoys an unusual perk in the landscape of American higher education: their system of tenure is protected under state law. Currently, those with tenure may only be fired for just cause or in cases of financial exigency. According to the New York Times, a new proposal from Governor Scott Walker seeks to remove tenure protections from state statute, allowing instead the university’s Board of Regents to set tenure policies.

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    A deeper look at a new survey of nonprofit boards



    The online nonprofit press is abuzz over the 2015 Survey on Board of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations, with headlines suggesting nothing but bad news. However, after digging into the report for myself, I’m here to dispute the board bashers. The survey results (at least as I read them) simply don’t support the sorry soundbite summaries.

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